Where is Cancun

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Where is Cancun Mexico - 2023 Guide

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Do you want to know where is Cancun, Mexico located? 

Situated in the northeast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Cancun is an alluring city found in Riviera Maya in southeastern Mexico. As part of the state of Quintana Roo, it’s one of Mexico’s most sought-after tourist hotspots. 

Where is Cancun

Perched on the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun lies at a precise latitude and longitude: 21.17429 N and -86.84656 W, respectively.


🇲🇽 Mexico Travel Resources We Use:


Due to its wide white sand beaches, tropical climate, and sprawling all-inclusive hotels, Cancun is a globally recognized tourism destination, but few people know exactly where Cancun is located (including many travelers who have already visited).

Distance from Cancun to other major destinations:



Estimated travel time by car

Cancun to Tulum

81 miles or 131 kilometers

About 1 hour and 43 minutes

Cancun to Playa del Carmen

42 miles or 68 kilometers

About 58 minutes

Cancun to Mérida

199 miles or 320 kilometers

About 4 hours and 40 minutes

Cancun to Chetumal

236 miles or 379 kilometers

About 4 hours and 43 minutes

Cancun to Isla Mujeres

21.2 miles or 33.4 kilometers

About 55 minutes

Where is Cancun, Mexico, on the Map

Cancun is blessed with a privileged location, and it’s no wonder why. Quintana Roo houses breathtaking destinations like Isla Mujeres (the Island of Women, only 30 minutes away by boat), Playa del Carmen (only an hour drive ), Cozumel (one-hour voyage from Playa del Carmen) and Tulum (two hours driving).

Where is Cancun Mexico

Furthermore, the neighboring state of Yucatan is home to some sensational nearby Mayan ruins such as Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum and Ek Balam – all just a few hours from Quintana Roo. Want to experience these majestic sites? You can join one of many tours available in Cancun that will shuttle you there!

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A Bit Of History

Cancun was once an essential hub in the Mayan culture, used for fishing and maritime trades. Post-Maya departure, Cancun faded into obscurity with just a population of 100 inhabitants until it’s rediscovery in the 1970s.

In the 1970s, Mexico identified Cancun as the perfect spot for their next Mexican Caribbean sea project and tourist destination and invested in building several beachfront resorts of its own to get investors on board. By the mid 1980s, Cancun had become an undeniable success and was undoubtedly deemed “the IT destination” in Mexico.

Cancun Today

From a small fishing village in the Caribbean Sea with just 100 people in 1970, Cancun has developed into one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations and is now home to over 700,000 individuals. And that’s not all! Nestled beneath the azure waters of Cancun lies an underwater museum featuring 500 life-size sculptures – the perfect spot for scuba diving.

When it was first discovered by Europeans centuries ago, this Mexican paradise was known as “Ekab,” which translates to “Black Earth” in Mayan language; its current name ‘Cancun’ also originates from Mayan origins and means ‘nest of serpents.

Finally, although 14 miles might seem like a short stretch for some beaches around the world – here on these shores it brings together two unique cultures: modernity blended with culture heritage.

Home to the second biggest reef on the planet, Cancun’s Maya Barrier Reef, and boasting a whopping 32.000 hotel rooms from luxury beach resorts all way down to budget hotels and affordable accommodations in downtown – there is something for everyone! For those who have their sights set higher, consider tourist attractions like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, which is regarded as number one globally.

Cancun mexico

The language spoken in Cancun is Spanish, blended with the local Mayan dialect.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cancun

Is Cancun north or south of the equator?

Nestled at a distance of 1,462 miles (2,352 kilometers) north of the equator lies Cancun – an enchanting destination that boasts tropical warmth and sunnier days.

How much is a taxi from Cancun International Airport to the hotel zone?

Taxis from Cancun International Airport to the hotel zone typically cost between 50 and 60 USD, making them an affordable way to get around and back to the hotel zone. Uber in Cancun has been on and off.

Cancun Airport
Cancun Airport

We highly recommend you stay away from Ubers in Cancun as there have been acts of violence from the local taxi mafia against both Uber drivers and passengers. Read out Guide on Uber in Cancun for more details.

What state is Cancun in?

Boasting crystal clear waters and snow-white stunning beaches, Cancun is a vibrant city located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo on the picturesque Yucatan Peninsula.

Is Cancun in the US?

Contrarily to what some may think, the beautiful city of Cancun is actually located in Quintana Roo on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

The Best Time to Visit Cancun

Are you searching for the perfect time to book your trip to Cancun? The fabulous weather in this paradise is quite consistent, making it easy to plan accordingly. With practically no temperature changes throughout the year (the average temps are around 83°F), the main factor that travelers consider when visiting is its wet season.

January – April

Although the weather is usually gorgeous and sunny, this destination experiences a high influx of visitors. If you don’t enjoy crowds, keep in mind that oceans, cenotes and swimming pools aren’t heated so they can be unpleasantly chilly for some people.

May – October

The summertime in this region is the hottest and wettest, yet you can still snorkel or dive in its inviting warm waters. Keep tabs on hurricane patterns that peak during September and October; it’s best to get travel insurance just as an extra precaution. Since there are fewer people around, many hotels, all inclusive resorts and tour companies offer fantastic rates during this period!

November – December

For the most part, Cancun is best visited during autumn and winter months. You can rest assured that hurricane season has already passed and you will be able to take pleasure in low humidity levels. At nighttime it may become a bit “chilly” yet still quite pleasant for anyone who wishes to explore this amazing destination!

Cancun Secrets the Vine
View from Secrets the Vine beachfront resort : Cancun Beaches

Is Cancun Safe?

Cancun is known for being one of the safest cities in Mexico, particularly compared to Mexico City and other Mexican cities. Certain gang-related crimes have seen a slight surge recently; however, they have typically confined away from tourist zones and do not target tourists directly.

The city’s economy hugely relies on tourism so local residents and government administrators strive their hardest to keep the crime rate low while ensuring that visitors can enjoy Cancun with peace of mind.

With some common sense such as avoiding trouble, and paying attention to your surroundings, you will be able to explore this beautiful destination safe. 

Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?

I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:

🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.

🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.

🚙 Cancun Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.

🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.

📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.